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Wheelchair Basketball, Disability Rights and Inclusion

Fourteen adaptive sports coaches descended on Louisville from Zambia for the 2018 National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament! The fourteen coaches represented Special Olympics Zambia, National Paralympic Committee of Zambia, Ministry of Youth, Sport, and Child Development, Baeuleni United Sports Academy, and more. The coaches were invited to the United States on a project of “Disability Rights and Inclusion” sponsored through the U.S. Department of State, Sports Diplomacy. World Affairs Council partnered with FHI360 to provide an unforgettable experience for the coaches and Kentucky counterparts that they met with.

 

Following the tournament, coaches met with several local agencies, individuals, and organizations working for disability rights and inclusion in sports. The group started their local meetings with Louisville Metro Councilman Vitalis Lanshima, the first foreign-born resident to sit on Louisville Metro Council. Councilman Lanshima lost his arms in an accident while living in Nigeria. He shared his personal journey in paralympic sports, which is what ultimately brought him to Louisville through a sports scholarship with Bellarmine University.

Sports was the first thing that taught me that I could be free.

Louisville Metro Councilman, Vitalis Lanshima

Special Olympics Kentucky met with the group afterwards to talk about the organization’s history, work, challenges, and successes. Mr Hunter Brislin, Program Director of Team Sports and Coach Education, and Mr. Justin Harville, Director of Volunteers and Program Services, provided a presentation and answered questions about Special Olympics in Kentucky.

Mr. Greg Fante, Vice President of Sports Development with the Louisville Sports Commission, put together a strong panel of guests and hosted a roundtable on “Sports Tourism, Events, and Accessibility” for the coaches at the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau (LCVB). The panel included: Ms. Vickie Lincks, Executive Director of Kentucky & Southern Indiana Paralyzed Veterans of America; Ms. BJ Levins, Recreation Administrator for Louisville Metro Parks’ Adaptive and Inclusive Recreation (AIR) program; Mr. Brad Knapp, Destination Services Manager, LCVB; Ms. Gen Howard, Senior Sales Manager (Sports), LCVB; and Mr. Dave Patrone, Vice President of Client Services, Kentucky Venues. Immediately, the roundtable talked about the logistical challenges and successes for hosting the National Wheelchair Bakestball Tournament, including transportation, venue, hotel, and more. The group was greatly impacted by the amount of collaboration and partnerships that it takes to pull a successful event.

 

The group was impressed to see that hosting events such as the National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament requires the entire city’s cooperation.

The following day was spent entirely at the University of Louisville to meet with the Department of Health and Sports Sciences and participate in a sports psychology workshop with 2nd Wind Motivation by Cheryl Hart. The last day of programming, the group visited Churchill Park School which serves students age 5 to 21 who have moderate to severe disabilities and need a specialized program. They were able to view the school’s adaptive recreation and sports, including an adaptive playground, adaptive swimming pool, bowling alley, and gym.

 

As their final meeting, the group spent an afternoon with BJ Levins and Metro Parks staff at the Louisville Metro Parks Adaptive and Inclusive Recreation (AIR) program at Berrytown Recreation Center. The group learned about the history of the park’s involvement in adaptive recreation, the plethora of programs and sports available to the community, and the administration of such programs. Then comes the fun — archery class!

 

If you want to view the group’s Facebook album for more pictures, follow this link

 

International English Teachers Visit Kentucky

From March 21-25, the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana hosted 10 international teachers. The visitors, from Turkey, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam, were all English as a Second Language educators studying ESL teacher training programs. Our visitors traveled across the state, first meeting with professors from the Masters in Teaching ESL program at the University of Kentucky. Next, they traveled to Frankfort to tour the state capitol and meet with officials from the Department of Education to discuss Kentucky’s foreign language standards.

Finally, on Friday, the group saw these training programs put into action through a visit to ESL Newcomer Academy at Shawnee High School, a middle and high school that works with students beginning their first year of school in the United States. These students are typically at beginning levels of English proficiency, so instructors help students develop their English skills and provide emotional support during their transition to American life. The visitors sat in on English classes at Newcomer before meeting with officials from the Jefferson County Public Schools system to discuss the hiring of ESL teachers and curriculum development.

Our international visitors’ trip to Louisville concluded with a fun cultural day on Saturday. The group visited the Muhammad Ali Center and Kentucky Derby Museum before finishing the day with a dinner cruise on the Ohio River. From Louisville, the visitors went to Chicago, IL to participate in the TESOL International Convention and English Language Expo. Our visitors enjoyed their visit to Kentucky and will take many valuable skills back to the training centers and universities in their home countries!

Regardless of our experience in the field, there is always so much we can learn from one another. ‘Professional learning’ is endless! | – Bahar, Turkey

 

My strong belief is that people like us, teachers and educators, make the differences and build understanding between countries and nations. We shape and influence young generation’s minds and future and it was great to meet professionals from Kentucky to learn from them! | – Svetlana, Uzbekistan

Visit the group’s Facebook Album!

Real power is locked within us and we are unaware of it. Visiting the Muhammad Ali Center helped me to unleash my vital energy! | – Michel, Gabon

 

This program was funded and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Office of English Language Programs and implemented locally by FHI 360 & World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana.